Archive for November, 2012

Posted: November 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

Chris Proffitt, 26, the marine.

Chris Proffitt, 26, of Sacramento, is a Sgt. for the Marine Corps. Having served more than five tours of active duty, including stops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“I always knew I wanted to be a solider ever since I was a kid growing up,” said Proffitt. “The aspect of getting out on the battle field, challenging yourself mentally and physical putting everything out there on the line, it’s the ultimate test ya know?”

Growing up as a single child in Sacramento, Proffitt drew inspiration from meeting a personal challenge and from programs on television or the silver screen; seeming destined for military life at an early onset.

“One of my favorite movies is Gladiator and I always envisioned myself as an ultimate soldier, a warrior against all odds.”

Setting goals and actually realizing your dream is one thing. After graduating from Natomas High in 2004, Proffitt put in plans to motion during the summer and joined the Marine Corps despite the chagrin from his parents.

“No my parents did not want me to join the military especially with the threat of going into a massive war,” said Proffitt. “Don’t get me wrong they are proud of what I do and have the utmost respect for the military, but I think it was more so they did not want my life to be endangered in any way.”

With every profession there and pros and cons to each job. The military has its own category of pros and cons unmatched by any job profession, because of the severity and responsibilities that come with it.

“Some of the benefits obviously is you get to go out and travel the world and meet new people,” said Proffitt. “I’ve also got to meet so many women traveling around the world and once they know you’re military they flock to you.”

Along with the benefits of the aforementioned meeting various people and women for that matter, there is also the benefit and pride of serving your country. But along with that, there are some downsides to military life as well.

“Some of the draw backs about being in the military is the grind of training, mentally and physically preparing yourself for anything. This isn’t for everyone and not everyone will make it back. You lose a lot of friends but you have to keep going forward.”

Despite some of the horrific things one can encounter occupied in this profession, this is viewed as a once in a life time experience.

“When you get out there it’s different, it can be a terrible feeling seeing people you train with in boot camp and watching them die on the battle field and there is no getting over that,” said Proffitt. “But that’s life sometimes and I wouldn’t change anything if I could, I love and take pride in what I do.”

Round up in Wassuk

Posted: November 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Bureau of Land Management conducted a series of horse gatherings in the Wassuk Herd Management Area, located approximately 12 miles southeast of Yerington, Nevada, from November 3rd to November 7th.  The Wassuk HMA is approximately 52,248 acres of rocky mountain ranges, surrounded by valley bottoms.

The BLM claims the purpose of the wild horse gather is to remove excess of wild horses and implement population growth controls. The horse gather will lower the wild horse population to appropriate management levels. The BLM also claims they want to provide a balanced ecosystem and manageable land area for everyone involved, farmers, ranchers, miners and the wild life.

“There are about 37,000 wild horses and burros roaming federal land with about 42,000 being held in captivity,” said BLM spokeswoman Heather Emmons. “Horses eat their own weight every month and the head of horses can double its size in a matter of four years.”

Round-ups are a method of population control, along with Porcine Zona Pellucida Vaccine, a fertility drug basically used as a form of birth control.

“In Wassack they’re going in there and removing horses and they’re also doing Porcine Zona Pellucida Vaccine,” said American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign Representative Deniz Bolbol.

“But the BLM is doing so little application of pzp. You have to capture a high amount of mares and apply the birth control in order for this to work, but what the BLM does is they apply such a small amount of pzp to the horses and claim it doesn’t work. They’re creating this problem.”

Groups opposed to the removal of horses from the range and opposed to the horse round-ups in particular such as the Cloud Foundation, Wild Horse Education Group and the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign cite the removal of horses is unethical and the round-ups as dangerous.

Representatives from BLM state otherwise. “For each round-up the BLM regulates an environmental assessment. We never put horses down and we work with various adoption agencies to find horses and burros a home,” said Emmons.

“We have an issue of transparency,” said Bolbol. “They refuse to install video cameras on the helicopters. The BLM refuses to amend the contract with the helicopters companies they refuse to have GPS video cameras in the helicopters. We’ve offered to pay for them and to provide live streaming of the video so we can see all of what goes on.

“Horses have collapsed from exhaustion after being chased for miles. How many horses collapse out of sight that we don’t know about?” said Bolbol.

Even with the horror stories stemming from the realities of horse gatherings, which include the crippling of horses retreating from helicopters sometimes even resulting in death, BLM stands by their claims of doing what’s best for the horses and for the other inhabitants of the land.

“We definitely take precautions when capturing horses for round-up. A lot of times they will use the bait water trapping in order to secure a safer capture for the horses, and we limit the time span of the gatherings during the summer time because of the heat factor. We don’t want to over exhaust the horses or cause any kind of unwarranted danger,” said Emmons.

An interesting fact is the Wassuk HMA has never had a horse round-up. The BLM claims the current population of an estimated 623 wild horses is based on a population inventory completed in June of 2011 and includes an estimated 2012 population growth rate of 20% for this HMA.

The question is how did the HMA have a 20% increase over such a short time period? Other questions in regards to the increase or decrease predators in the HMA, along with the managing of livestock in the area, the implementing of pzp birth control remain unanswered by BLM officials.